The City does not require a universal film permit to film in Austin; however, specific permits may be required if a production occurs in the right-of-way, in a City park, at the airport, or under other circumstances.
- Film Production Ombudsman
Determine if a permit is required for your production by contacting the Economic Development Department creative industries ombudsman Kim McCarson at 512-974-7963.
- Permits for Streets and Sidewalks
The City requires a permit for the temporary use of a street or sidewalk for filming in Austin if you are performing student or commercial filming activities in the right of way, including b-roll footage, still photography, and blocking, directing, impeding, or rerouting of any/all traffic modes. Read "Film Considerations" for a list of specific types of work. To learn more and to apply for a permit, visit Right of Way Permits: Film.
- Insurance Requirements
- Commercial General Liability insurance with a minimum limit of $500,000 per occurrence is required to film on most City of Austin property. The policy shall be endorsed to provide Additional Insured Status, Waiver of Subrogation, and 30 Days Notice of Cancellation in favor of the City of Austin. If any autos are utilized during filming activities on City of Austin property,
- Business Auto Liability insurance with minimum combined single limit of $500,000 for bodily injury and property damage is required. The policy shall be endorsed to provide Additional Insured Status, Waiver of Subrogation, and 30 Days Notice of Cancellation in favor of the City of Austin.
- Austin Energy facilities have minimum requirements of $1,000,000 for certain liabilities. For more details about these Austin Energy requirements contact Luis Rivas at 512-322-6306 (Insurance Requirements for Filming at Austin Energy Facilities)
Please note, additional insurance requirements outlined in any required City permits, reservation agreements, or lease agreements associated with use of City properties will also be enforced.
For further details about insurance requirements, please contact Benny VandenAvond, 512-974-3264.
- Parks & Recreation Department
To film at City parks, permitting inquiries must be made through the Parks & Recreation Department Special Events Office; see the “Filming & Photo Production Shoots” section for detailed information or contact Jason Maurer, Special Events Office Manager, at email@example.com and 512-974-6797.
- Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Filming at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) is temporarily on hold due to facility and staffing constraints. For questions, contact AirportInfo@FlyAustin.com.
- Austin Public Library
For fees, booking dates, information about facility use, and any other questions about working with the Library Department for filming, visit Commercial Filming and Professional Photography. For questions, contact the Event Services Office at 512-974-7585.
- Austin Center for Events (ACE)
For larger productions in public spaces requiring such components as pyrotechnics and/or public gathering, refer to the ACE Event Planning Guide for detailed information.
- Office of the City Clerk: City Code and Ordinances
The Office of the City Clerk (OCC) provides customers with copies of city ordinances and assistance in finding information in the city code. OCC also has a vast contact list to direct customers to the correct city department for additional information. For other details about working with the City Clerk's office for filming, contact the OCC Research Staff, 512-974-2210.
- Public Information Office: Use of City Name and Logos
Contracts are required for use of the City of Austin's name, seal, and logo. For details, contact the City of Austin Communications and Public Information Office, 512-974-2220.
- Land Development Information Services
- Austin Resource Recovery: Recycling Services
Austin Resource Recovery offers FREE, on-site location recycling of corrugated cardboard, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans. To set up recycling pickup services, call Customer Service at 512-494-9400.
Austin Resource Recovery also offers a free marketplace where you can find a second home for sets, costumes, props, or other items without a clear recycling or reuse option. The marketplace can also be utilized by film productions to source low-cost reused items. Visit austinmaterialsmarketplace.org to learn more or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Surplus City Property
For use of surplus City property, please contact Steve Stenton, 512-974-2082.
- Police Department
The City requires a permit for the temporary use of a street or sidewalk for filming in Austin if you are performing student or commercial filming activities in the right of way, including b-roll footage, still photography, and blocking, directing, impeding, or rerouting of any/all traffic modes. Read "Film Considerations" for a list of specific types of work. To learn more, visit Right of Way Permits: Film.
The Chief of Police or a designee will determine and approve the number of officers and agents that are required for closures and adjacent areas related to filming. There is a 2-hour minimum per officer. When 3 or more Officers are hired, a Sergeant (as a supervisor) is required by Police Policy. For larger events, a supervisor is required for every 10 Officers hired. Vehicles cannot be rented by themselves. The vehicle rental fees will not be charged if the use of a Marked Unit is not integral to the safety of the project being worked.
- Police Officer - $63.00 per hour
- Police Detective - $73.00 per hour
- Police Corporal - $73.00 per hour
- Police Sergeant (Supervisor) - $85.00 per hour
- Vehicle Rental - $10.00 per hour
For other details about working with the Austin Police Department for filming, please contact APD Special Events at 512-974-6636 or email@example.com.
- Fire Department
The AFD Prevention Division involvement with the film industry movie shoots revolve around the required permits and inspections and/or standby requirements associated with open flame and pyrotechnic effects, and, the inspections and approvals associated with street closures.
AFD Operations is also involved with supplying “extras” (fire personnel) and fire apparatus that may be needed in the actual film. When street closures are part of the filming, a site plan is required by AFD and an inspection may be required depending on the obstructions to access or egress of any structure. The following is required in order to obtain a permit for pyrotechnics or flame effects:
- A $50.00 permit fee (issued by Emergency Prevention Office).
- A current State of Texas, Pyrotechnic or Flame Effects Operators License.
- Permit applications submitted 14 days prior to the event
- A list of the materials to be used along with and MSDS for each.
- A certificate of insurance for General Liability Insurance for a minimum of $1,000,000.00 per occurrence combined single limit for bodily injury and property damage. The City of Austin must be named as an additional insured on the policy.
- When required by the Assistant Fire Marshal, a test shall be conducted to demonstrate the safe use of flame/pyrotechnic special effects material prior to use
- When necessary for the preservation of life or property, the Assistant Fire Marshal is authorized to require the attendance of standby personnel and fire equipment as set forth in the 2009 International Fire Code: Chapter# 33 Explosives and Fireworks (Section# 3301.5 Supervision - The fire code official is authorized to require operations permitted under the provisions of Section 3301.2 to be supervised at any time by the fire code official in order to determine compliance with all safety and fire regulations).
The following expenses are the responsibility of the Production Company and/or Pyrotechnic Operator: (Staff recommendation that all fees below be eliminated except for the standard overtime costs associated with the use of Fire Department personnel.)
- $160.00/hr. for each required apparatus standby (1 hr minimum)
- $119.00/hr. for each fire inspector on required standby duties or on overtime inspections (2 hour minimum on overtime)
- $160.00/hr. for each film industry requested fire apparatus (1 hr minimum)
For other details about working with the Fire Department for filming, please contact Michelle Tanzola, 512-974-0151.
- Austin Water Utility / Water Service
The Austin Water Utility Customer Service Division can assist with your needs for temporary water service. The Austin Water Utility can set a water meter on a fire hydrant or on a customer’s vehicle; the customer’s need and service availability determine which approach works best. A permit and a deposit will be required for this service.
- Deposits: $100.00 for a 1" meter, $425.00 for a 3” meter
- Initiation fee: $20.95
- Installation fee: $31.40
- Base charge: $5.50 per month for a 1" meter, $21.50 per month for a 3" meter
- Usage: Commercial rates are billed per 1,000 gallons used and vary according to Inside City/ Outside City and Peak and Non-Peak rates.
Application forms and procedures are available online. A water meter can be set on a fire hydrant or on a vehicle. A reduced pressure backflow prevention assembly is required for meters attached to a fire hydrant; the customer will be responsible for obtaining the assembly and paying to have it installed and tested by a certified tester. An air gap can be used in place of the reduced pressure backflow prevention assembly for meters on vehicles. There is no extra cost involved in maintaining an air gap.
For other details about working with the Water Utility for filming, please contact the Austin Water Consumer Service Office at 972-0000, and select option #1 for water and wastewater connections.
- Austin Energy / Electricity
For details about working with Austin Energy for filming, contact Luis Rivas, 512-322-6306.
- Office of Real Estate Services
For information about the use of City-owned buildings or property, visit the Real Estate Services webpage.
- Small and Minority Business Resources Department
It is the policy of the Austin City Council through Small and Minority Business Resources Department (SMBR) to provide equal opportunities to all contractors, and to redress the discrimination found in the City’s marketplace and in public contracting against minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MBE/WBE). The City seeks to encourage their full participation in all phases of City procurement activities and to afford them a full and fair opportunity to compete for all City contracts. The purposes and objectives of this department are as follows:
- To provide opportunities for MBEs and WBEs to broaden and enhance their range of capacities to do business with the City.
- To provide opportunities for MBEs and WBEs to serve as contractors and subcontractors for the supply of goods and services to the City.
- To administer this program in a manner consistent with applicable federal and state law.
Goals for MBE and WBE participation differ from contract to contract, based on the type of contract, the availability of MBEs and WBEs to perform the functions of the contract, and other factors. Minority goals may be either aggregate MBE goals or ethnic-specific goals. Our Program includes:
- MBE/WBE Ordinance Rules
- Certification Application
- Certified Vendor Directory
- Contract Compliance Requirements
- Information about Bonding, the Plan Room and other resources.
For more information, visit the Small and Minority Business Resources webpage.